Georgia Democrats are calling for a special session to pass gun safety legislation in the wake of mass shootings

A week after a gunman killed one woman and hospitalized four others at a doctor’s office in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia Democrats called on Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special session of the Legislature to consider legislation targeting Georgians to protect against gunshots.

The day after the Atlanta attack, a gunman killed three women in Moultrie before turning the gun on himself.

“The gun violence epidemic affects us all,” said James Beverly, minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and a Macon-based Democrat. “Parents send their children to school every morning with a pit in their stomach. Too many people have gone to church — churches, spas, doctor’s offices, grocery stores, malls, parks, concerts — and never returned home due to senseless violence. The growing danger that someone could be next looms over all Georgians. And our constituents don’t want to live like that anymore.”

Supporters of gun safety in the Capitol. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Beverly said Democrats had tabled 16 anti-gun violence bills this year, but none of them had been voted on in any of the Republican-controlled chambers. The annual session ended in late March, and unless the governor calls a special session, lawmakers are not expected to return to the Capitol until January.

Beverly said they needed to come back as soon as possible to vote on bills that would include background checks, safekeeping of firearms and a red flag law.

“Every day lives will be lost when Georgia’s leaders — the Republicans — fail to lead,” Beverly said. “We say lead. Do not hide. The time is now.”

Dozens of gun safety advocates crowded the steps of the Capitol Wednesday chanting “Now, now, now.”

Kemp’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Calling a special session on gun laws would be out of character for the governor, who has described himself as a proponent of the Second Amendment.

Republicans control the Georgia House of Representatives by 101 votes to 78 and the Senate by 33 votes to 23.

But supporters hope the tide will turn, citing a recent Fox News poll showing a large majority of Americans support measures like background checks and red flag laws.

Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee said he will call the state legislature to a special session in August to consider safety measures for the state after a school shooting in Nashville in March that killed three children and three adults advise on weapons.

And gun safety advocates celebrated Monday in the Texas Capitol as a House committee introduced legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase some firearms from 18 to 21. Texans have witnessed two shocking attacks in recent weeks – one in which a man is accused of killing five of his neighbors, including a nine-year-old, and another in which a gunman killed eight, including a three-year-old.

Senator Elena Parent. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Some Georgia Democrats called it a sign of progress when a gun storage bill went through committee hearing in March this year. Republican leaders said they were willing to hear the measure but not vote on it. A gun lobbyist vowed at the hearing to “expose anyone who supports this bill, and that goes double for any Republicans who betray us.”

Atlanta Democratic Senator Elena Parent said she’s had conversations over the years with her Republican counterparts that might be persuasive on some gun issues, but she said they’re “a very extreme, small but outsized group of people.” subdued who are incredibly aggressive.”

“(They) take effect immediately if any of my fellow Republicans begin to support a policy that I know in my heart they support and I know makes sense,” she said. “That’s why I say everyone here needs to fight this, and they need to be thanked if they have the courage to endure the unrelenting, misogynistic terrorist threats that we all, but probably especially you, face online once you have her.” Spend money.” Toes in the water, which makes them walk.”